Running Form. Does it matter?
Improving my running with the Aberdeen School of Running
So, 2018 is shaping up to be quite a big year for me. I hit a major age milestone, moving up to the Super Vet category, and along with the birthday celebrations I’ll also be undertaking a few long-distance challenges to both test myself and hopefully raise a bit of money for the Gathimba Edwards Foundation which does some wonderful things for under privileged kids in Kenya.
However, I’ve been having a fair bit of issues with my hips and general recovery from runs in that I was very stiff and creaky not to mention how I felt getting up in the morning! Having spoken to quite a few people who had went through the running technique sessions at the Aberdeen Movement & Running School which operates out of the Beechgrove Clinic and who were extremely satisfied with the service and outcome which they got, I spoke with Peter and Lynne from the clinic to see if it was something which could benefit myself.
I’m no elite runner and very much a middle of the pack runner. I’ve never been coached in the past and basically all I do is just go out and run. It’s not that complicated a thing, is it? So, I did wonder if I would benefit from an analysis of my running form and if there was anything, especially at my age which I could change which would be beneficial for me.
Anyway, I signed up for the 6 session running program and at the moment I am just about through it, with just one final session to go. I must say, I have been amazed at the transformation. After the initial session, where you are filmed from all angles, it was clear where my issues were coming from. Over-striding, imbalance at the hips, non activation of glutes and arms which were basically doing nothing were all contributing to the issues which I was having.
As part of the sessions, there’s also a lot of emphasis on dynamic movement skills. These exercises are great at developing strength, power, agility and balance. Have really found them useful and something which you can do at home in basically a 2m square area.
For the running technique improvements, it is designed around repetition of movement with the intent that over time it will commit to memory. Even after the first couple of sessions I could feel some differences as I was starting to feel my glutes activate which I had never done before. This is a common issue with us runners where we don’t utilize our glutes effectively which is where we should be getting our power from.
One of the big differences I’ve felt though is that my recovery time is so much quicker already. The stiffness which I had been feeling has literally disappeared. No longer lying in bed having to move from side to side to get comfortable! I definitely feel that I am running more efficiently now, which, for me will allow me to run further and hopefully a little faster.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend these sessions to anyone who’s keen to improve their technique which will make them both run more efficiently and faster but also allowing a quicker recovery and help keep injuries at bay. I also don't think you need to be an elite runner to benefit from these session and can see a lot of benefits from doing this if even if you're just starting out on a couch to 5K program. Get it right from the start and you'll find the running experience a lot more enjoyable.
At the end of the day, we all love running, and anything we can do to keep us running has to be a good thing!
- Andrew Gordon